From the Know archive: On President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama will deliver a speech at the university's Gregory Gym Monday (Aug. 9). In anticipation of his arrival, we pulled from our Know archive two photo slideshows from Obama's visit to campus for the Democratic presidential primary debate, as well as expert analysis of his 2010 State of the Union Address.

University hosts Democratic debate

Published March 20, 2008: Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate at the university on Feb. 21, 2008. The debate is hosted by the University Democrats, the Lyndon B. Johnson Foundation on behalf of the LBJ School of Public Affairs and the LBJ Library, CNN and Univision Communications Inc. Produced by Marsha Miller.

Experts analyze President Obama's State of the Union Address

Prof says Obama's speech suggests little optimism, emotional distance
by Gary Susswein
President Barack Obama's word choice in the State of the Union Address reveals a complex and dynamic thinker who is surprisingly cool and distant, according to James Pennebaker, chair of the Psychology Department.

Using a computer program he's developed to measure the relationship between language and personality, Pennebaker compared the words Obama used to the State of the Union addresses delivered by every president since Harry S. Truman in 1946.

Continue reading Pennebaker's full analysis.

Four professors from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs also provided expert analysis on critical issues raised by President Barack Obama in his Jan. 27 State of the Union Address. To view a linked PDF file in this article, you must first download the Acrobat Reader plug-in for your browser.

Josh Busby
Assistant Professor of Public Affairs

Josh Busby
  

"President Obama suggested that he would urge the Senate to pass a version of the bill the House passed last year on clean energy. Those bills will finally put a price on carbon emissions to help address climate change," Busby said. "The president sought to sell the bill as part of the jobs and innovation agenda, which was probably smart. With the Congress tied up dealing with health care, progress has been stalled on the energy/environment bill, which promises to be just as, if not more, controversial and far-reaching as the health care bill. If President Obama can rally Democrats to pass health care legislation, then he has a chance, albeit a small one, to advance the clean energy bill before the midterm elections, but time may not be on his side."

Download a PDF of Busby's full breakdown of the President Obama's comments on climate change and energy policy.

Jacqueline Angel
Professor of Public Affairs and Sociology

Jacqueline Angel
  

"Although President Obama fully acknowledged in his State of the Union Address that the American people are deeply concerned about the economy, unemployment and the growing costs of education, he made it perfectly clear that he is not yet ready to abandon comprehensive health care reform," Angel said. "The President emphatically stated that as he begins his second term in office, he wants to stick to his core principles and tackle the rising costs of health care and the discrimination by insurance companies against millions of individuals with preexisting health conditions."

Download a PDF of Angel's full breakdown of President Obama's comments on health care.

Veronica Vargas Stidvent
Director, Center for Politics and Governance

Veronica Vargas Stidvent
  

"The State of the Union Address is a unique opportunity for the President to frame his priorities, garner public support for his initiatives and--despite this President's eloquent remarks against 'the perpetual campaign'--score political points," Stidvent said. "(And yes, as any Harvard-trained lawyer well knows, using the opportunity to chastise the Supreme Court does indeed amount to fighting words.)"

Download a PDF of Stidvent's full breakdown of the President Obama's comments.

Alan J. Kuperman
Associate Professor of Public Affairs

Alan J. Kuperman
  

"Considering that 200,000 American troops remain in harm's way in Iraq and Afghanistan, in wars costing more than $1 trillion, President Obama had remarkably little to say about this massive American expenditure of blood and treasure. Perhaps that is because there is little good news on either front," Kuperman said. "In both cases, he simply expressed confidence that our troops are accomplishing their mission and will soon come home."

Download a PDF of Kuperman's full breakdown of President Obama's comments on nuclear proliferation and national security.

View another slideshow from the Democratic presidential primary debate on the next page.

Behind the scenes at the Democratic presidential debate

Published March 20, 2008: Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama participated in a Democratic presidential primary debate at the university on Feb. 21, hosted by the University Democrats, the Lyndon B. Johnson Foundation, CNN and Univision Communications Inc.

Hundreds of students, faculty and staff played a vital role behind the scenes during the debate and in the weeks leading up to the big event. Some helped with with sound and lighting checks while others were in the spin room after the debate escorting media experts. Students from the LBJ School of Public Affairs helped with logistics at the event as ushers and crowd control, and even volunteered to stay behind and help clean up. Produced by Marsha Miller and Christina Murrey.